The Worksite Analysis Process

The Worksite Analysis Process

Worksite Analysis

To be effective in recognizing and evaluating on-the-job hazards and recommending controls, industrial hygienists must be familiar with the characteristics of all hazards. Major job risks can include air contaminants and chemical, biological, physical, and ergonomic hazards.

A worksite analysis is an essential first step that helps an industrial hygienist determine what jobs and work stations are the sources of these potential and existing hazards.

During the worksite analysis, the industrial hygienist measures and identifies exposures, problem tasks, and risks. The most effective worksite analyses include all jobs, operations, and work activities.

The industrial hygienist inspects, researches, or analyzes how the particular chemicals or physical hazards at that worksite affect worker health. If a situation hazardous to health is discovered, the industrial hygienist recommends the appropriate corrective actions.

Recognizing and Controlling Hazards

Industrial hygienists recognize several primary control strategies to eliminate or reduce health hazards and employee exposure to those hazards. These basic control strategies are further organized into a “Hierarchy of Controls.” ANSI/ASSP Z10-2012, Occupational Health and Safety Management Systems, encourages employers to use the following hierarchy of hazard controls.

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Hazard Control Strategies

The top strategy areas (elimination,

substitution, and engineering controls) attempt to control hazards. Controlling hazards is always preferred to controlling behavior, and that’s why these strategies are at the top of the hierarchy. After all, if you can get rid of the hazard, there’s no need to control the exposure – there isn’t any.

Elimination removes the source of the hazard. This strategy totally eliminates the hazard from the workplace. This should be the top priority for all safety professionals including industrial hygienists. An example of this strategy includes replacing a hazardous chemical with a totally non-toxic, safe, “green” chemical.

Substitution reduces the hazard. This strategy should be used if it is not feasible to eliminate the hazard. The idea is to replace the hazard with a less hazardous substitute. An example would be to replace a hazardous chemical with a less hazardous one. There would still be a need for protection like personal protective equipment, but the hazards of exposure would be less serious.

Engineering controls remove/reduce the hazard through design. This strategy involves the design or redesign of tools, equipment, machinery and facilities so that hazardous chemicals are not needed or that exposure to those hazardous chemicals are not possible. Examples include using equipment that does not require the use of hazardous chemicals in a process or for cleaning. Enclosing work processes or installing general and local ventilation systems might also be used.

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